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Ethylene remains on a global slide

Global spot ethylene prices reflected renewed losses over the last week. The drops in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. were driven by fluctuating feedstocks, which themselves were impacted by global economic woes and limited monomer demand from downstream markets, according to ChemOrbis.

NYMEX crude futures for July delivery regained some of their previous losses in the last two trading days of the week. Futures contracts rose by a total of $1.41/barrel on Thursday and Friday, but still finished week off $0.79 cents/bbl.  Over the past month, crude oil prices have plunged by nearly $10/barrel.

Spot naphtha values gained $15/ton on a CFR Japan and CIF NWE basis in Europe and Asia last week. In spite of those gains, spot naphtha prices were mostly stable in Europe and down $30/ton in Asia compared to the beginning of June. Market sources told ChemOrbis that refineries were producing less naphtha while maximizing their gasoline and distillate production in Asia. In addition, demand from end users was restricted in Europe.

European spot ethylene gains earlier this month proved short-lived due to political and economic uncertainty in the region. Spot prices declined €25/ton ($32/ton) on FD NWE basis but remain €15/ton ($19/ton) above levels reported in early June. ChemOrbis noted that lower operating rates on the producer side have yet to balance the market.

Asian spot ethylene offers were down $45/ton on a CFR Northeast Asia basis last week, with current spot prices down $95/ton compared to the start of June. Several market players attributed the ongoing bearish trend to sluggish downstream demand.

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